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Research and scholarship are central to all of the Museum’s activities, including the development of collections, exhibitions, publications and programs. This research is wide ranging and includes Australian history and experience, collection care, and museology, particularly in the areas of audience evaluation, outreach and community engagement.

Research in the Museum is supported by the Curatorial Centres, Research Fellowships, Associate Programs, the Research Library and research partnerships. Museum staff regularly publish and give presentations on our research activity.

Curatorial Centres

Ideas, research and scholarship underpin all our work.

Our curatorial centres drive a bold exploration of ideas and public engagement that connect the Museum and its collection to profound questions in Australian and global life.

Martha Sear

Dr Martha Sear

Martha Sear is the Head of Curatorial Centres. As an historian and curator her work has focused on rural life, the environment, and international exhibitions.

The Head of Curatorial Centres leads and coordinates the work of the team, including the research program, partnerships, ideas generation and development of the overall museum experience.

Email enquiries about our curatorial centres to

Research Fellowships

The Swayn Senior Fellow in Australian Design is a collaboration between the National Museum of Australia, the Alastair Swayn Foundation and The Swayn Gallery of Australian Design. The Fellowship program has a vision to increase public awareness and connection to design, through collections, collaborations, exhibitions, events and research and will establish the Swayn Centre for Australian Design in 2022.

ARC collaborative research projects

Museum researchers are participating in collaborative research and development projects including these Australian Research Council projects:

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